Gordon Brown says Boris Johnson could be ‘first Prime Minister of England’ as he warns of Brexit threat to Union

Posted On: 
22nd July 2019

Gordon Brown has said that Boris Johnson could be remembered as "the first Prime Minister of England" in a warning over how a no-deal Brexit could threaten the Union.

Gordon Brown urged Mr Johnson not to push the British economy "off a cliff"
Credit: 
PA

The former Labour Prime Minister said the Tory leadership frontrunner's opposition to devolution and Scottish representation at UK-level was "well-known" and could put the future of the country at risk.

He also warned that a hard exit from the European Union would hurt millions already affected by austerity.

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Speaking at a Hope Not Hate and Institute for Public Policy Research event in London, Mr Brown warned the former foreign secretary not to push the economy “off a cliff”.

“A No Deal Brexit also threatens a United Kingdom that even now seems united in name only,” he said. 

“Boris Johnson has no workable answer to the Northern Ireland border problem.

“And his opposition to the fundamental lynchpins of Scotland’s relationship with Britain is well known.

"He opposes the level of Scottish representation in the UK; he opposes the devolution settlement and the powers the Parliament has; he opposes the funding format based on needs and demography and he thinks it’s just wrong for a Scot to be PM of the UK - a jibe I thought was directed at me but I now think was aimed at Michael Gove.

He added: “Indeed it sometimes seems as if is fated to be remembered not as the 55th Prime Minister of the UK but as the first Prime Minister of England.”

“But with Conservative members and supporters saying the end of the Union is a price worth paying for Brexit, a more extreme SNP now proposes to leave the UK customs union, the UK single market and the UK pound.

"Scotland is caught between two extremes - Conservative and Nationalist - that both put the Union at risk."

Mr Brown also quipped that the next Prime Minister will be voted in by a “smaller electorate than who voted for Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing.”

According to a poll by Hope Not Hate, 26% of men and 17% of women believe a no-deal Brexit is good for Britain.

It also revealed, at the launch of its 'No to No Deal' campaign, that three million Leave voters from the 2016 referendum say that exiting the EU without a deal would be bad for Britain.

The former PM added: “So even before he becomes PM, Boris Johnson is already out of step with the views of the British people and perhaps more than 20 million voters will oppose a no-deal Brexit.  

“Those vying to be Prime Minister have been cocooned in a Tory leadership contest giving the same ‘No Deal’ speeches to the same small crowds but out in the country the British people are right to be concerned.”